The Biblical Definition of the Good Shepherd
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, NIV). A Shepherd is a person who tends and guards flocks of sheep. In Bible, Jesus was not a real shepherd; however, he described himself as the Good Shepherd. Christians may question why the Good Shepherd is distinctive from general shepherd. From biblical perspective, the Good shepherd is an emotional image that teaches Christians to follow Jesus. Through contrasting the Good and bad shepherds, investigating the functions the Good shepherd, and looking at biblical examples of the image of the Good shepherd, God’s intention of teaching Christians is more asserted.
Through comparing the Good Shepherd and bad shepherds, God teaches every Christians to follow the Good Shepherd. The prophet Ezekiel, in Old Testament, prophesied against the bad shepherds. In Book of Ezekiel 34, He describes the characteristics of bad shepherds; “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! … You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock” (Ezekiel 34:2-3). The bad shepherds do not care for their flock but only for themselves. In the other hand, Jesus said, “the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11) and he actually gave his life on cross to save his people. Ezekiel continues to speak about what the bad shepherds did not do for their flock; “[the bad shepherds] have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. [The bad shepherds] have ruled them harshly and brutally” (Ezekiel 34: 4). This Ezekiel’s description of the bad shepherds allows the readers of the Bible recognize the contrast without doubt. Furthermore, in Book of John, Jesus tells us that the bad shepherds are like “thieves and robbers” (John 10:1). Jesus stresses that the thief comes only “to steal and kill and destroy” but He...